A way too early guide to the 2022 NFL MVP race
Fresh off his second straight NFL MVP award, and fourth overall, Aaron Rodgers will enter yet another offseason riddled with uncertainty, as he contemplates his future in Green Bay and the possibility of retirement.
The Denver Broncos could make another push for the one-time Super Bowl winner, after they hired Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in the offseason, and bear a load of cap space to lure the coveted quarterback, along with his favorite weapon and impending free agent, Davante Adams.
Despite the question marks surrounding Rodgers, the 38-year-old is once again a top contender to win a record-tying fifth league MVP trophy.
Below, we examine the favorites for the prestigious award, some notable players to watch, and pick a few value plays in TwinSpires’ way too early guide to the 2022 NFL MVP race.
Regular Season MVP 2022/2023
Fri, February 10 2023, 2:00 AM
Allen slightly favored over Mahomes to win first MVP
For the past three seasons, 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes has opened as the preseason favorite for the award, but this year, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (+500) has supplanted Mahomes as the frontrunner at TwinSpires Sports.
Allen had a phenomenal postseason run, albeit short-lived, after Kansas City ousted Buffalo in an all-time classic overtime matchup in the Divisional Round.
In two playoff games, Allen racked up 637 yards on 77.4% passing, threw nine touchdown passes, no interceptions, and ran for 134 yards.
Allen also accumulated 4,407 passing yards, 42 total touchdowns, and ran for 763 yards in the regular season, as he guided the Bills to an 11-6 record and their second consecutive AFC East title.
The quarterback who sent Allen packing in the playoffs, Mahomes, is a +600 choice to win his second MVP award.
Last season was a bit of a roller coaster for the league's highest-paid player. While he finished with the fourth most passing yards (4,839) in the NFL, he tossed a career-high 13 interceptions and finished with his lowest passer rating as a full-time starter.
By the end of the regular season and postseason, the 26-year-old seemed back to his old self and tallied 1,057 passing yards and 11 touchdown passes across three postseason games.
Mahomes will also get at least one more season with wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce both at his side, so he'll be eager to come out firing in a possible "Last Dance" scenario with two of the league's best pass catchers.
Burrow rises to forefront of MVP race
Mahomes nearly reached his third straight Super Bowl appearance in 2021, but second-year quarterback Joe Burrow knocked out the Chiefs in a thrilling overtime battle in the AFC Championship Game.
Just one year removed from a season-ending ACL tear during his rookie season, Burrow bounced back to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 10-7 record, their first AFC North title since 2015, and a surprise run to Super Bowl LVI.
With the addition of former college teammate Ja'Marr Chase on Cincinnati's roster, Burrow amassed 4,611 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes (both franchise records), while Chase set both the single-game (266) and single-season (1,455) rookie record for receiving yards.
Burrow, who was named 2021 Comeback Player of the Year, will unfortunately again face a season of rehab, after he sprained his MCL in the Super Bowl, but the recovery should be much quicker than last offseason.
With the core of his offense returning and plenty of cap space to improve Cincinnati's porous offensive line, Burrow could be in for an even better season in 2022.
Burrow is the fourth choice to win MVP, just behind Rodgers, at +700 odds.
Rodgers, Murray could find new homes in offseason
Rodgers could end up staying in Green Bay to attempt to win one more title with the franchise, but the front office faces a major challenge in retaining the polarizing signal caller and his No. 1 target, Adams.
The relationship between QB Aaron Rodgers & the #Packers is in as good a spot as it has been in a long time, leading to optimism and hope that he will choose to return. GB is willing to do what is necessary contract-wise to make it happen.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2022
My story: https://t.co/yhjvRIEMvx
Green Bay is already $51 million over the cap heading into the 2022 season, and that doesn't account for Adams' salary. The Packers are expected to place the franchise tag on the superstar wideout, which would cost around another $20 million.
Rodgers has indicated he doesn't want to be part of a rebuild if he decides to keep playing, so if football is in his future, you can expect him to go all-in with another MVP-caliber season on a team vying for a Super Bowl.
Two other players who could move on from their current teams are Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (+1600), who was at one point a prime MVP candidate in 2021, and longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The week leading up to the Super Bowl, Murray deleted all references to the Cardinals on social media, before reports surfaced that Murray felt like he was framed as a scapegoat for the Cardinals' 34-11 Wild Card loss to the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
The odd vibe between the @AZCardinals and Kyler Murray is indeed alarming:— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 13, 2022
Murray is described as self-centered, immature and finger pointer, per sources.
Murray is frustrated with franchise and was embarrassed by playoff loss to Rams and thinks he’s been framed as the scapegoat
Murray was immediately linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who must replace recently retired quarterback Tom Brady. However, Murray's NFC West mate, Wilson, has reportedly attracted the attention of Tampa Bay's front office, as well.
Wilson has not officially requested a trade, but last offseason he allegedly told the Seahawks he would be open to one, only if he were sent to one of the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders, or Chicago Bears.
The Bears eventually drafted rookie Justin Fields as their quarterback of the future, while Dallas is likely to stick with Dak Prescott. The Raiders, on the other hand, could make a play for Wilson to join new head coach Josh McDaniels, while the Saints are in the market for quarterback help, too.
2022 NFL MVP value plays
While Allen, Mahomes, and Rodgers should all remain in the MVP conversation for much of the 2022 season, Burrow, at +1000 odds, offers better value on a player who could return with an even stronger roster in the upcoming season.
Quarterbacks have dominated the MVP award annually since 2013, and have won 14 of the last 15. Yet, in 2021, wide receiver Cooper Kupp catapulted himself into the discussion and earned one MVP vote.
Kupp (+4000) led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947), and touchdown catches (16), and could do it all again in his second season with Matthew Stafford (+1300) at the helm of the Rams' high-flying offense.
This season Cooper Kupp:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2022
- Won the receiving triple crown
- Won Offensive Player of the Year
- Won Super Bowl MVP
Jerry Rice is the only WR in NFL history to do all of those things in an entire career. Kupp did that in a single season. pic.twitter.com/l7g1p3Un5D
Another non-quarterback to watch for is wide receiver Deebo Samuel (+3300). In 2021, the third-year stud transformed into a multifaceted playmaker who did just as much damage on the ground as he did in the passing game.
Samuel caught for a career-high 1,405 receiving yards (fifth most in the league), added six touchdown catches, and ran for 365 yards and eight scores in the regular season (tied for 10th most in the NFL).
He was just as impressive in the postseason, with 291 yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns through three games, and was the X-factor on offense for a 49ers team that will likely trade away Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.
If Samuel can post similar numbers next season with quarterback Trey Lance and help lead San Francisco to another postseason run, he will undoubtedly get a look at MVP.
That said, a wide receiver has never won the award, so if you think a non-quarterback can break the QB streak in 2022, keep an eye on running backs Derrick Henry (+3300) or Jonathan Taylor (+3300) to also make a huge splash next season.